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Preaching Articles

Preachers face a lot of pressure these days. We live in a day and age marked by easy access to an amazing caliber of preaching. This means the bar is set extraordinarily high for the average preacher. It's intimidating to know that your audience podcasts pastors like Mark Driscoll, Andy Stanley, James MacDonald, Steven Furtick, Matt Chandler, and John Piper throughout the week and then shows up to hear you on Sunday.

Pastors should be working hard to preach the best sermons possible, but the best sermon is only as good as the audience listening.

Preaching is a two way street. The preacher is responsible for preaching well, and the audience is responsible for listening well.

Listening is a lost art in our culture, so how should we listen to a sermon?

1. Prayerfully

Pray for yourself. Pray that the Spirit would prepare your heart to receive what He would say to you. Pray for your preacher. Pray the Spirit would empower him to preach with clarity, courage and conviction. Getting God’s Word into your heart is a supernatural act, and we are dependent upon the Spirit for this work. This means we should listen to sermons prayerfully.

2. Expectantly

In Luke 16:17, Jesus told His disciples, “The one who hears you hears me … ” This means that when God’s Word is faithfully preached, it’s not the preacher who speaks, but the very Spirit of God. Do you get that?! Do you expect to hear from God when you’re listening to your preacher? When we gather, God speaks! This means we should listen to sermons expectantly.

3. Actively

Preachers aren’t performers. It’s not your preacher’s job to put on a show for you and keep you entertained for 30-40 minutes on Sunday mornings. You’re not a passive participant, you’re an active element in the sermon. Take notes. Pay attention. It’s ok to laugh at your poor preachers jokes. Steward your body language. Say, “Amen,” if your tradition allows it and the content calls for it. Help your preacher preach. We should listen to sermons actively.

4. Humbly

We sit “under” preaching in order to receive instruction, correction, conviction,and encouragement from the Word of God. Receiving requires humility. Listen carefully and critically, but do so humbly. Don’t be a judge with a score card, but a beggar in need of biblical nourishment. Don’t resist the Spirit. Kill your pride, submit to God and listen to sermons humbly.

Preaching is a gift from God by which He speaks to His people. If we take this for granted, grow apathetic or become calloused to this gift, we will miss God’s grace in it.

Instead, let’s strive to honor God and our preachers by listening to sermons prayerfully, expectantly, actively and humbly.

I was born in Corvallis, Oregon, but due to my dad being in the military, I grew up on both coasts and went to high school in the midwest. Jesus saved me at the age of six and since that time my story has been one of Jesus’ faithfulness in the midst of my unfaithfulness. College brought me to Chicago, and in early 2006 I began to sense God’s call to church planting. After a few years of prayer and planning my wife, Tami, and I planted Redemption Bible Church with a few friends crazy enough to follow us on this journey.

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Dennis Cocks

commented on May 29, 2013

Very good article! Radio, the Internet, etc., have made it easier for people to hear great preachers. Then they expect their pastors to preach the same way. Good points on how to listen to a sermon!

Gerald Graham

commented on May 29, 2013

In the past I was known for my shorter sermons having done the ten minute youth pastor devotionals. I have had adults tell me they liked my "short to the point messages". As entertaining as that may be, one thing I began too ask myself is "are they retaining it? My sad answer is "not really". Sad how we as a culture blame the preacher for our inability to sit and listen well. Not just listening to the preacher, but listening for God to speak to us through them.

Russ Spikes

commented on May 29, 2013

What translation are you using? Luke 16:17 in my Bible says, "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the law."

Russ Spikes

commented on May 29, 2013

I think you meant Luke 10:16.

Caroline S. Ernest Lall

commented on May 30, 2013

Very nice article! Today's generation really need to pay attention towards listening of Gods word and the internet has made it so easier to read or hear great preachers. I appreciate the points which has been taken for how to listen to a sermon and I truly believe that articles like this can change the people life's.

Charles Ingwe

commented on May 30, 2013

Very encouraging article. I am blessed and stay blessed too.

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